Kathy Sessions's blog

Our Climate Change And Health "Moment": How Philanthropy Can Help

Some would say that the climate change and health connection is having its “moment.” It could not have arrived too soon. Environmental funders have, to a large extent, provided the primary philanthropic support for fighting climate change. That may be changing, though—climate change is the existential threat of our time, and health philanthropists are starting to realize that climate change has the ability to overwhelm the substantial progress we have made in improving human health and extending longevity.

Fortunato Farewell

Thank you and we’ll miss you, Karla! This month, the HEFN staff and members bid farewell to Karla Fortunato, who just left HEFN’s staff to become the next President of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy. For the past thirteen years, Karla was an invaluable part of the HEFN staff team, providing leadership as the network grew in members and staff, expanded its issues of focus, and evolved towards a new strategic direction.

Beyond Rogue One: What Science Fiction Can Tell Us About Resisting Trump and Supporting Social Movements

I’m obsessed with analogies. I feel like I can’t claim to understand a given issue unless I can describe it effectively using an analogy that’s both intuitive and provocative (and hopefully positively delightful to boot). I’m also obsessed with science fiction. And so, inspired by Terry Marshall’s excellent piece on what progressives can learn from mixed martial arts and game theory, I thought I’d share a science fiction analogy that I’ve found to be quite useful when discussing the dynamics of “movement moments,” i.e. moments of exponentially increased political activity or re-alignment.

Silence

Lately I have found myself stupefied into virtual silence. And I know, from speaking with many colleagues and many of you reading this, that I am not alone.

Lead Poisoning: Forgotten But Not Gone

Question: When is achieving 97 percent of a goal not good enough? Answer: When the unfinished 3 percent represents over half a million lead poisoned children. Just as America has set other big goals, we must return to the “forgotten but not gone” tragedy of lead poisoning and declare as a nation that we will end childhood lead poisoning in 5 years. 535,000 children are waiting for us to stand up together and say, Yes we can!

Vision, Tenacity, Service Honored in 2016 Pearl Award

The Cornell Douglas Foundation is very pleased to announce the recipients of the fourth annual Jean and Leslie Douglas Pearl Award of 2016. The award is given to organizations and to individuals who are dedicated to improving the lives of others and to providing a sustainable earth for future generations. Despite challenges, they are committed to act as catalysts for positive change, and determined to promote the rights of individuals to live in a world with clean water, air, and sustainable land. The Cornell Douglas Foundation applauds its recipients’ unique vision, tenacity, and extraordinary accomplishments.

More is required of us

Over the past two years the streets have swelled with unprecedented levels of protest proclaiming “Black Lives Matter” across the U.S. and around the globe. Today, I raise the question for philanthropy, particularly for white and non-black people of color donors and foundation staff: what more is required of us to advance racial justice? It is a question I have been grappling with as a biracial Sri Lankan/white American working in philanthropy.

Champions in the Spotlight

Major awards are shining much-deserved light on champions of environmental health and justice. The recent winners have varied stories; there's a student, an attorney, a pediatrician, biologists, a grantmaker, and an environmental health advocate. But their common story is about people growing into powerful advocates for public health, the environment, and social equity. Read on for a healthy dose of inspiration!

Flint and Us

Catastrophes like the Flint water crisis could happen in Pittsburgh, if we ignore the needs of our community and believe that public health and prosperity cannot go hand-in-hand. Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant writes about why Flint matters and how the principles of p4: People, Planet, Place and Performance need to guide us in our growth as a modern city.

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